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Old 05-10-2016, 04:45 AM   #1
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Exclamation Does anyone use an electric car for a toad?

In my quest to understand how my "next chapter in life" will play out; I'm looking for input on an electric toad. I have a Smart Electric Drive. it weighs 2000 pounds. I could use it, or buy a used Leaf. (they are retailing on the used market here for about $9500.) The Smart would have to be towed 4 wheels up, since it is rear wheel drive
I would have to pay for 2 30 amp services when docked, but could get nearly 100 miles of sightseeing in for about $3.
Or plan C. buy an ACME dolly and just bring my Prius.
Thanks for comments, Jim
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Old 05-10-2016, 06:00 AM   #2
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I may be wrong but from what I have read electric's and Prius can only be towed on a trailer.
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Old 05-10-2016, 06:10 AM   #3
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I know Prius and other hybrids can be towed 4 down (assuming there's no transmission issue with that particular car, check that just like any other car).
I have a Ford C-Max hybrid (yes, I know you haven't heard of it, neither has anyone else. Ford is doing a good job of keeping this a secret - who knows why). It can be towed four down without issue, but the problem with these is they don't have a traditional key, so you have no way to unlock the front wheels without turning the car on. That of course leads to a dead battery in a short time - 4 to 6 hours seems to be the general consensus. The fix is to run a power lead to the car to give it enough juice to not drain the battery when the car is on. I've seen several threads about this on the C-Max forum.
I would assume that the Prius would be the same (Ford is using Toyota's tech, somewhat modified), and likely would have the same issue with any electric or hybrid car. "How do you unlock the steering wheels without turning the car on?" or "How do you feed the car enough juice to keep it from running the battery down?".
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Old 05-10-2016, 06:48 AM   #4
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A Prius can't be towed 4 down. You must tow it on a dolly. You don't need a trailer to tow it.
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Old 05-10-2016, 10:29 AM   #5
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The Ford C-Max with no key does not need to be left on when towing. I tow a 2015 and the manual says to turn it ON, place in Neutral, then hold the brake pedal down and press the start button which turns it OFF. I originally placed it in AUX mode which worked but the battery did run down. I did add the little battery charger from RVi Brake which works great. Then I read my manual and realized that it said to turn off the car.
The C-Max does have active braking so a pump runs to maintain a vacuum to the brakes even when off. This can run down the battery in time. I have not tried not using the battery charger since I started turning Max OFF instead of AUX. Have towed over 9000 miles with no incident other than plastic air shield under car comes off.

Very pleased with the C-Max.
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Old 05-10-2016, 10:44 AM   #6
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I thought the same thing, however my early research also showed NONE of the electric cars was towable 4 down. Maybe this has changed, but I don't think the RV market is big enough for car makers to really care about this feature (4 down towing).

I thought it sounded natural to use the power at the campground to charge the car. And wouldn't it be great if no power was available, to simply tow the car and let the regenerative braking slowly charge the car? Yes it would hurt fuel economy, from the towing vehicle, but a great "plan B" if way out away from campgrounds with electrical hookups.
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Old 05-10-2016, 10:55 AM   #7
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I'll second the C-Max comments, though we've only towed it three times so far. Very easy, turn on, put in neutral, turn off. Wheels and steering seem to be free to turn as needed. No battery issues yet, but we'll be taking jump cables with us on our long trip just in case.
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Old 05-10-2016, 11:12 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Railhead View Post
I would have to pay for 2 30 amp services when docked, but could get nearly 100 miles of sightseeing in for about $3.
Hi Jim,

Your post "sparked" a question in my mind.

Many of the electric cars use a regenerative braking system so that when the brakes are applied, the drive motors are temporarily changed to a generating mode to re-charge the batteries.

Why wouldn't it be possible to design a 4 down towable electric car that would generate enough electricity during a day's worth of towing so that you'd arrive at your destination with a fully charged toad. Yes, I presume that it would add some drag and cost some fuel from the towing vehicle. How much, I have no idea.

I also understand that the RV market for towable cars is a niche market. Still, it might be a relatively easy design change that may be very attractive to that niche market.

Take care,
Stu
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Old 05-11-2016, 04:07 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 777 Driver View Post
Hi Jim,

Your post "sparked" a question in my mind.

Many of the electric cars use a regenerative braking system so that when the brakes are applied, the drive motors are temporarily changed to a generating mode to re-charge the batteries.

Why wouldn't it be possible to design a 4 down towable electric car that would generate enough electricity during a day's worth of towing so that you'd arrive at your destination with a fully charged toad. Yes, I presume that it would add some drag and cost some fuel from the towing vehicle. How much, I have no idea.

I also understand that the RV market for towable cars is a niche market. Still, it might be a relatively easy design change that may be very attractive to that niche market.

Take care,
Stu
The problem with 4 wheels down on an electric car (from what the Benz dealer told me) is a chance of fire. I don't know the particulars, but I'm not going to risk it. I can dolly the Prius.
Usually someone in a forum has found a shortcut, or a fix, so that is why I asked.
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Old 05-11-2016, 07:56 AM   #10
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Here is some additional information

http://www.mynissanleaf.com/viewtopic.php?t=4428
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Old 05-11-2016, 08:03 PM   #11
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On the C-Max, the battery that runs down is just a small 12 volt battery to power the electronics. The electric motor starts the engine. As a result it doesn't take much to get the car going again unlike a conventional dead battery.
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Old 07-06-2016, 10:11 PM   #12
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We use a smart ED as a Toad. We tow it four down on the same smart car trailer we use to tow our diesel smart car.

Not sure I understand the one part of your post. Why would you need two 30 amp plugs at a site The smart ED charges fine from any old 15 amp circuit.

Cheers
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Old 07-07-2016, 06:27 AM   #13
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We use a smart ED as a Toad. We tow it four down on the same smart car trailer we use to tow our diesel smart car.



Not sure I understand the one part of your post. Why would you need two 30 amp plugs at a site The smart ED charges fine from any old 15 amp circuit.



Cheers

I don't understand. How can you tow it four down on a trailer as you mention ? When you tow something 4 down, all 4 tires of the vehicle roll on the ground.

In other electric vehicles I've read about, the 15 amp charger takes MANY hours to achieve 0 to full charge of the batteries. Usually takes a 220 volt circuit to achieve a 8 hour or less full charge.
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Old 07-07-2016, 08:30 AM   #14
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I don't understand. How can you tow it four down on a trailer as you mention ? When you tow something 4 down, all 4 tires of the vehicle roll on the ground.

In other electric vehicles I've read about, the 15 amp charger takes MANY hours to achieve 0 to full charge of the batteries. Usually takes a 220 volt circuit to achieve a 8 hour or less full charge.
O my God I am a moron sometime. I meant to say "we tow it TWO DOWN on a two wheel trailer. Sometimes I wonder what I'm going to be like when I am 90.

You are right on the the charge time. Ours takes about 11 hours on 15 amp but it is rarely at or close to zero although 20 percent is not uncommon for us. Over night on a 15 amp charge and it is always full in the morning. Good for another 120 to 150 KM

I don't have a picture of the ED on the trailer but here is a picture of the diesel on the trailer and Angela in her ED.



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